The face is the part of the body most closely associated with personal identity. Without a face a person is less identifiable. So when dreams refer to the face it’s often symbolic of something related to a person’s identity. With that in mind, take a look at this dream I interpreted at Reddit (link to original post):
I dreamt that I was walking into a McDonalds and it was packed so I decided to leave. As I was leaving these two girls were standing outside and had a water bottle in their hand, they were giggling. I kind of stopped to look at them because I felt like they were up to trouble. Both of them looked at me and one of them said “Hey, come here.” That’s when I started running and they chased me. I somehow climbed a pole and got onto this ledge thing, but I was pretty much trapped. When I looked down they were smiling and giggling, looked at each other, and then looked at me. Then a stranger passed by, he was looking at me and then looked down at them. One of the girls said “Hey!” and as he looked at her she squirted the liquid into his face. He started screaming and holding his face, I saw faint smoke coming from it. He ran away as the girls started laughing. The dream ended with them looking up at me, smiling.
Acid attacks like this really do happen and it’s possible to dream about it as a reflection of something heard about on the news, but in this case I see symbolism at work. Two parts stick out. One, the attack itself, and two, the girls who do it. My first impression is, “I know that type of girl.” They huddle in little groups and disparage everyone else, making themselves feel better by putting other people down. So my guess is that this person’s character or reputation has been attacked recently, probably by a female or group of females.
To make a long story short, this interpretation hit the nail on the head. This is what the dreamer said in response:
Well my mother and I have never had a good relationship. Putting me down is pretty much her specialty. Two weeks ago we actually got into a really explosive argument because, to put it frankly, I was sick of her shit. We haven’t spoken since but I’m pretty much still completely angry. Usually by now we would’ve gotten over it, but this fight was different. She still talks behind my back to other family members and friends. I honestly can’t even stand to look at her.
I’m not sure why McDonald’s is the initial setting — it might have to do with a connection between cheap food and cheap shots, as in personal attacks — but the rest of the dream is pretty obvious in light of this comment. The dream uses substitute characters because I bet it’s hard for the dreamer to see the situation for what it really is. The dream portrays it almost poetically, but think about if you were the person constantly being attacked by your mom. It would probably be hard to admit to yourself that what she does is the symbolic equivalent of getting acid thrown in your face.
Also, it’s not the dreamer but a stranger who gets attacked, yet the stranger is a substitute for the dreamer. Again, it’s to create some distance so that the dreamer can observe the situation and get the message without being too disturbed by the dream content before the dream runs its course.
The part about climbing the pole and getting stuck on a ledge is also a perfect metaphor for the situation the dreamer is in with his mom (and, by the way, with the rest of his family, as they follow her lead and tear into him too). Being up on a pole is a way of saying he is alone in this situation. He is trying to get away from it but can’t. Stuck on a ledge is also a variation of the same idea. It symbolizes being in a precarious situation, alone.
Man, what a mother. Good luck, dreamer. I suggested that he get away from his family. His response: “I’m trying.”
And that is how you interpret a dream about acid thrown in the face.
For more about body symbolism in dreams, see this dream about a leg amputated,
this dream about earwax,
this dream about false teeth,
and this dream about pulling a hair from a foot.